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Transport Delays, Labor Shortages Affect Supply Chain As Holiday Shopping Starts

Key Highlights

  • Supply chain woes are anticipated to persist as the holiday shopping season begins earlier than ever, despite some easing of backlogs at the nation’s ports and retailers reporting they were flush with inventory this summer.
  • Angeli Gianchandani, professor of marketing at the Pompea College of Business, University of New Haven, said that supply chain issues are here to stay.
  • She said everything is fragile now, supply chain, crops, labor etc. Everything is colliding now. It is the perfect storm.

The storm includes global events such as the war in Ukraine, China’s zero-Covid policies causing manufacturing shutdowns, and an actual storm, Hurricane Ian.

Lisa Anderson, a supply chain expert and president of LMA Consulting Group, said the Category 4 hurricane has led to grown demand for some products required for recovery efforts, as well as stranded or destroyed equipment and materials, putting a strain on other parts of the supply chain.

A rail worker strikes temporarily averted in September could still happen after members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees rejected the tentative agreement brokered by President Joe Biden.

The trucking industry is facing a shortage of chassis, the base on a semi-trailer that can be loaded with a container. The Journal of Commerce reports the shortage could last through 2024 because manufacturers expect to fall well short of their production goals this year.

Supply Chains Are Snarled

Consumers may take advantage of deals from retailers who need to move excess products that came in late last year.

According to Oren Klachkin, lead US economist for Oxford Economics, shipping backlogs in southern California are down sharply. He said the overall data show that ports are in a better situation today than they were a few months ago. Many companies are struggling, but the worst supply chain challenges are behind us.

How Will Supply Chain Issues Affect Holiday Shopping?

The holiday shopping season, which used to start with Black Friday, now starts much earlier as many retailers provide deals throughout November and even in October.

Gianchandani said that Black Friday became Black November which is now Black October. Since supply chain issues persist, stores may try to shift online shoppers away from home deliveries which could get delayed as holiday purchasing ramps up.

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